The State Minister for Microfinance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo has said the Emyooga program is the most decentralized government programme in Uganda’s history.
” There’s no Sacco that got money without the knowledge of the RDC. The RDC first approves that this group exists and then they get the money,” Kasolo said.
He was on Monday speaking in Rubindi Town Council, Kashari North as part of the monitoring of the program.
Kasolo said that the program was removed from the central level to the local government, adding that even the Microfinance Support Center which is giving the program technical advice has no say on who gets the money.
“Saccos have leaders and they work with District Commercial Officers. You can’t say this program wasn’t decentralized.”
He added that Emyooga is no longer a government program but rather owned by the people.
” It’s you who decide who to give the loan. It’s you who get the money from the bank. It’s you who distribute the money. So how can you say that this is not your program,” Kasolo asked.
The minister was responding to a query raised by Mbarara district chairperson Didas Tabaro who complained that generally local governments have been stripped of their powers by the center.
” It’s painful that we no longer have powers yet we claim to be leaders. Something needs to be done about that,”Tabaro said.
On the compliant that Emyooga program was introduced during campaign time, the minister dismissed the claim as baseless.
” If a government program is introduced during campaign why wouldn’t you participate in it? Didn’t you see roads being constructed during campaigns? You didn’t see health centers built during campaigns? ”
Kasolo said President Museveni gave a greenlight to the program after doing a lot of research on why poverty had persisted among Ugandans.
” He would see that people are poor but they spend a lot. Bars are always full. Salons have people. Chapati vendors were increasing,” Kasolo said at a meeting held at All Saints Church hall in Rubindi Town Council.
” So, he (Museveni) said the problem is saving but they needed some seed capital to expand their businesses. That’s why we have Emyooga.”
Kasolo urged leaders to join Emyooga saccos if they’re to effectively mobilize the population.
” If people see that you have joined a sacco then they will take you seriously. Leaders should join the elected leaders Sacco. Then people will have confidence to join,” Kasolo said.
He said only Members of Parliament are not allowed in elected leaders’ saccos.
” The president said they have their own Sacoo in parliament and that would be enough. The rest of you must be in Emyooga Saccos. That’s how you will monitor the program.”
He again reminded people that the program is about them.
” It’s you who choose your own leaders. It’s you who choose those who sanction your loan applications. It’s you who look for defaulters,” he said.
Speaking at Bwizibwera town council headquarters, in Kashari South constituency, the minister said the next step will be dispatching auditors to scrutinize Emyooga Sacco books of accounts across the country.
” You have shown me these papers but know auditors will soon be coming to check if what you have been telling me in these papers is real,” he warned.